Guangxi Province's

YANGSHUO

Global Mark : 15.63    Top Ten : No4

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 

Cost

AVER.
5 5 2 2 2 5 5 5

4

15.56

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend Range AVER.
23 100%  (23) 70%  (16) 91%  (21) 10 to 20 15.70


Description :
Amazing karsts peaks served at the western sauce of banana pancake and Hollywood movies

Comments : Already too touristy for some people's taste,  Yangshuo might loose its (very) little tranquility left when the Chinese tourists will start spending the night there instead of Guilin, a tourist industry move that may rise the prices and prove fatal to Yangshuo "western" spirit. Fortunately, the surroundings shall remain lovely on bike. It is more enjoyable to visit Yangshuo after some time on the road...

What to do : Walk the streets of the old village / Bike the amazingly beautiful countryside / Take a mug bath and slide toboggans inside a huge cave /  See colorful butterflies / Climb peaks and say 'waow' at the breathtaking panoramas  / Visit surroundings villages' markets / Make a river trip (by boat, inner tube or canoe) / Watch cormorant fishing / Learn some Chinese, kungfu, religion or how to play chess / Communicate with the English-speaking Chinese / Read at the terrace of a restaurant / Make new friends / Watch the latest Hollywood movies / Relax and recharge your batteries / Take again the kilos you lost on the road / Teach English in exchange of free internet, meals or room

What you may not like : The continual offer of services from the local people /  Some dual tariff westerners-Chinese / The westernization of the place / The feeling of being in a huge shop where you have to bargain for everything, including the bus ticket at the bus station ! /  Not seeing the "real China" / The look of the Chinese tourists visiting the "western reserve" / The tourists buses lining the river side with their engine on for the refreshment of the driver / The noisy "private" parties from the restaurants below your room /

How long ? From 3-4 days to see the surroundings to the length of your visa...


Where to stay ?

Plenty of cheap accommodations for travelers. Check the room and, if you like it and if it is the low season, bargain hard. Some people have managed to stay in huge double with attached bath for as low as 30Y for two people. During the high season, you are off course more limited and prices increase a bit.   

Recommended places :

  • Faulty Tower Hotel (882 4309), 32 Pantao Rd, next to Hard Seat Cafe, a bit on retreat from the road / Dble or Tple room with attached bath and TV go from 40 to 60 for 1 person, 80 for 2 people or 90 for 3 people occupying the room / HW 24 hrs // Go there for one of the best quality-price ratio in town, the "hotel style" rooms, the relative quietness off the traffic street / What you may not like : not being in the center of town

  • Lisa's Cafe (882 0217, email : Lisa@public.glptt.gx.cn), Xi Jie / Dorm 15 to 20 in 3 or 6 bed's room with attached bath  / Dble without bath 20 / Dble (or Trpl under the roof) with bath around 60 / Air cond... with surcharge / HW 24 hrs //Go there for the excellent location, the correct rooms (a lot of different kind so if you do not like one, ask to visit more), the nice view from the top or some of the rooms /What you may not like : the smelly gas bottles outside each room, the activity below with some bars closing only at 3am, the Chairman Mao's decoration, the practice of modifying the price agreement if rooms become scares, the not so clean rooms,...

  • California Hotel (882 5559, htlcalys@unforgettable.com), 35 Xian Qian St / Dorm 15 (2) or 20 (3)  / Sgle or Dbl without bath 30 or 50 / Dble with bath & TV 100 / HW 24 hrs //Go there for the cleanliness, the nice "hotel touch" like soap or shampoo, the good location, the relative quietness off the main street, the good quality-price ratio / What you may not like :  the lack of atmosphere of the building

  • Good Companion Holiday Inn, opposite Bus Station / Dorm 10 in 3 bed's room (15HS) / Big Dbl room with bath 60 (or even 30 after negotiation) / HW 24 hrs // Go there for the excellent price after negotiation, the huge Dbl / What you may not like : the old and not so clean rooms, the noise from the street

Also worth checking :

  • Yangshuo Youth Hostel (882 2347) / Dorm without bath 10(5) or 15(2) in LS /  10 or 15 in 5 bed's room / Dbl with bath 25 per bed  /  Sgle without bath 30 / HW 24 hrs

  • Sihai Hotel, next to Lisa's / Dorm without bath 20(4) / Dble with or without bath around 60 or 40 / Huge Sgl with air cond.. 120 HS

  • Zhuyang Hotel (882 1601) / Dorm without bath 20(4) / Small Sgl 120 / Nice Dble 250 / discount possible / HW 24 hrs

  • Golden Leaves Hotel (882 2860) / Dorm 40 in 2 or 3 bed's room / Dble with bath 100 to 150 /  A bit old so OK after big discount only / HW 24 hrs

  • Nanyang Hotel (882 2838) / Sgl with bath 50 / Dbl with bath from 60 to 80 / HW morning & evening / Also a bit decrepit

  • Xilang / In new bldg : 120 Dbl (150HS) / In garden : 20 per bed in basic Dbl / Trpl with or without  bathroom

Note : There is no need for transcription in Chinese character as most of the hotels have English signs

Backpacker's Tips : Samson Wong, Canada (Sept 06)
« Lao Men Hotel (773-8811-881), enter from a alley from Xi Jie (west street),Clean, Comfortable, Nice View and Private, 50/Sgl, 60/Dbl, all rooms include hot water, towel, bathroom, AC. Opened in 2006, still very new. Owner is a backpacker himself. Must enjoy is the roof view. The building is 5 storey high, higher than most buildings in the area, giving you a 360 view of the surrounding West Street out to the river and the mountains. I spent 2 hours up there one day when it was raining. It is now open for hostel guests only to hang dry cloths and relax. I had lunch one day with the owner and he said he will be converting the place to be more comfortable for the guests. » 

Backpacker's Tips : Stefan Westerheide, Germany (Jan 05)
« Peace Hostel dbl (br,hw,ac,balcony,clean,friendly) 60 Y. Best food: sihai café opposite to rosewood café (also good). Minibus to Da Zhai (3.5 h, 70 Y + 50 Y entrance fee for rice terraces) » 

Backpacker's Tips :   Christine, USA (May 04)
« If you're tired of dorms and need your own room, there's a nice little place that's got really small but quiet and private rooms in the central area of town, now called 'west street'. The name of the place is called Guihua Hotel. It's just off of West Street (the new name for foreigner street) and basically, as you walk towards the river, turn left down the really tiny street (that has a sign pointing to the Bamboo hotel, which is listed in the lonely planet but really expensive, like 40Y for a dorm). Anyway, this place is really friendly and has 3 singles on the very top floor for 15-20Y. Their sign is very small on the side and in the front is only in Chinese but it's on the right side just before the massage place. Again, it's tiny, but it's your own room with a great view of the mountains out of a very small window and even has a tv if you want that sort of thing :) »

Backpacker's Tips :   Stef Derluyn, Belgium (April 04)
« Yangshuo: stayed at the Western Inn, 40 rmb per night. Countryside still nice, but lots of locals bothering you. Yangshuo itself has become quite big since i was there last time in 1996. 15 rmb to rent a bike for a day. »

Backpacker's Tips : C. Tam, Canada (Sept 01)
« If the California Hotel was once situated in a quiet street, it is no longer the case. People from the bar/cafe next to it (catering to local workers, I think, because it actually gets noisier after Xi Jie street quiets down) were shouting until 3am and the shop in front of the hotel has a noisy card game running all day long in the street. We moved to the CoCo Hotel which is across from the Sihai, after two nights of noise. (When we complained to the offenders, they only got noisier -- throwing in a few very badly attempted at cursing.)»

Backpacker's Tips : Terry, Australia (May 00)
« New accommodation in Yangshou. "Riverside Retreat", 5 km on the road to Moon Hill. Lovely place. Peaceful. Nice family. 100 yuan a night for a double. Highly recommended. Better than the bustle of town.»


Where to eat ?

So many restaurants offering the same kind of foods in Yangshuo that it would be unfair to recommend any. My personal choice is Planet Yangshuo for its pancake with ice cream but who cares ? Truly, the food is basically the same in most places. Pick up the restaurant according to your mood, if you want to watch an Hollywood movie (you can select it from a list), listen to music, read magazines or join friendly people.  Western or Chinese dishes vary from 10 to 15Y, pancakes are around 5Y, big breakfast from 15 to 20Y.

If you are fed up with the westernization of the place, head for the market area for cheap Chinese food. Check out for the bamboo box full of tasty Baozi or Jiaozi. At 2Y for 10 pieces plus a soup, this is probably the best taste/price ratio in town (and you may feel like being in China again)


How to keep busy a few days ?

Visit Yangshuo : Quite a few travelers forget that Yangshuo is a little bit more than a place to sleep, eat banana pancakes and buy souvenirs. There are some old streets, a colorful market everyday, a nice park (Y5 for foreigners) and the Green Lotus Peak to climb for a great view (from the highway, take the stairs on the left and then fight your way up with good shoes for around 20mn)

To Moon Hill & the surroundings : The next step would be to rent a bike (Y5 per day) and head toward Moon Hill, 8km away (follow the highway on the right and go straight at the roundabout). On the way, you will pass the Banyan Tree Garden (avoid the ridiculous 18Y entry fee by continuing a bit and then turning right). At Moon Hill (Y9), leave your bike at Water Cave's Cafe to avoid the 1Y parking fee and do not miss the summit (small path on the left) for a superb panoramic view. If you decide to have lunch at the Cafe, have a look at the travelers comments about Water Caves (praises in all languages since 1994). From there, head for the countryside and its small villages on a two hours circuit that will bring you to Yong Cun Village and then back to Yangshuo via another beautiful route.

To Chufa's Water Cave : Arguably the best cave in Yangshuo, this newly discovered cave is definitively worth a morning or an afternoon if you are not scared of getting wet and dirty. It cost around Y90 (negotiable with Chufa according to the number of people) for around 4-5 hours inside the cave + transportation (bicycle or tractor) + copious lunch or dinner in Water Cave's Cafe at the end of the exploration.

To Xingping : Several options for this charming village, 25km away : bike, boat (Y50, 3 hours upstream, 2 hours downstream) or minibus from opposite the Bus Station (Y2.5 for locals, usually 3.5Y for foreigners under the pretext of an insurance). On the way by the road, you pass Fuli (Y1 by bus), a place worth a look around the pier (not around the nothing-special market). The road become really nice from there only. Xingping is busy during Market day but otherwise, it is a fairly relaxed spot with beautiful walks near the river and a few attractions (incl. a cave and a fishing village visited by Bill Clinton in 1998, accessible by boat only for Y1 local price, last boat back at around 5pm but you will have to ask your way for it). Accommodations are available so it is a good alternative for those who wish to relax in a more authentically Chinese atmosphere :

  • Lotus Hotel (870 2239), opposite the bus station / Y20 per bed in Trpl or Quad with attached bath / HW 24 hrs / Maps of the area available

  • The River View Hotel (870 2276), near the dock / Dbl with air cond. but not bathroom Y50 without negotiation / HW 24 hrs


Do you need a guide ?
For around Y50 a day, a number of women propose to show you around the countryside from 9am to 4pm, with a lunch break at their place. All of them will show you books full of recommendations in every language. Indeed, if there is several of you (price should increase only a bit for the food) and if you do not have time to lose your way, this is not a bad deal. 


Backpacker's Tips : Blaise Fiedler, France (July 05)
« Recommend a hotel called Youth Hostel on Pantao Lu,just opposite the entrace to Yangshuo park. It was Y40 for a big double room with WC, balcony and a good view on the street atmosphere and Yangshuo park.
Money: The Bank of China on West st has an ATM which takes international cards
CD Burning: On New West St the Photo Studio Kodak burnt CDs from my photos for 15Y for 2 CDs (but I had my Cds - add another 5Y if you don't).
Show: I strongly recommend the new show on the water taking place in Yangshuo - it's called Liu Sanjie Impressions and costs Y150. The best show I've seen in China. Don't be cheap and pay only Y50 to see it from a boat from the water - agencies will try to sell this. you really do not see a thing and have in essence wasted Y50 and your time.
I also recommend the boat trip Yangdi / Xingping - it's Y50, departs at 6:30 and you have an hour on the river with a beautiful mystic feeling, with the mist rising and the sun appearing. Just check with your agency what is included - as usual we were quoted a low price which then came with an additional Y10 extrafor the bus ride to Xingping. Oh - and of course rent a bicycle and get lost!
» 

Backpacker's Tips : Allen Mao, Yangshuo Mountain Retreat  (Nov 02)
« To visit: The "Big Banyan Tree" : not only is the tree more than one thousand years old but is situated next to one of the best natural swimming spots in the region, the Jin Bao River. / The Dragon Bridge: More seasoned riders might prefer to follow the River up to Dragon Bridge, through a number of ancient villages and past some of the most amazing scenery in the province. Choose from a gentle drift down the river back to the Retreat or head on to Baisha to check out the market and then back to Yangshuo on the main highway. Hard riding in parts so allow for a full day with lots of regular breaks.(Allow 4 hours) / Buddha Cave: Situated in Li Village, approximately 30 minutes past Moon Hill, Li Ba clay boasts very special mineral deposits, famed throughout the Middle Kingdom for its wondrous regenerating properties. (Allow 2.5 hours, Ticket: Y80) / Shangri La: One of the first large scale theme parks in the area. Almost twice as far as Baisha town, more sedentary types might prefer to take the bus from Yangshuo. Enjoy a boat trip that highlights minority dances and craftwork that culminates with a rather lackluster gift shop and snack bar. Still under construction in some places but definitely a glimpse of things to come in the rapidly developing tourist area.(Allow 4hours, Ticket: Y40)

Walks: Water Wheel Enjoy local farmers going about their daily agricultural tasks among some of the most amazing limestone karsts anywhere on the planet as you take a gentle stroll up a water wheel that has been turning constantly for well over a hundred years. Two RMB means that you can enjoy the swings, the viewing posts as well as the wheel itself. Allow one hour to walk up and then perhaps contemplate a bamboo river taxi for the return leg but don't pay more than fifteen RMB per person for the privilege. (Allow 2 hours, Ticket: Y2) / Moon Hill Cross the river directly outside the retreat, watch out for a few local photo opportunities in Fung Lo Village and take a short cut across the Jin Bao River to arrive at Yangshuo's most popular tourist attraction. Allow three hours and be ready for the nine RMB charge up to the peak of Moon Hill. (Allow 2 hours, Moon Hill Ticket: Y10) / Dragon Bridge Take in even more of the wonderful scenery: by making this rewarding journey on foot. Take time to see the catch-your-own-lunch fish farm, 'The House That Jack Built', half way up a mountain in Mao Village and the spectacular Dragon Bridge itself. Allow a full day to make this journey with a bus ride back to Yangshuo to finish.(Allow 6 hours, Bus: Y3)

Location Bamboo River taxi : Yulong River 1. Take a twenty minute bus ride up river to Jiu Xie Village and then gently drift down the river all the way from Xien Gui Bridge to Mountain Retreat where there will be cold beers waiting. Try and negotiate, as prices can be steep in the high season. (Allow 3 hours,About Y80 / person ) 2. Take a bus up to Jin Long Bridge and float back down the river. During the six-hour ride try not to compare the 3 RMB bus ride to the unbelievable 150 RMB per person fee for the boat trip back.(Allow 6 hours,About Y120 / person )

The Li River : Stretching all the way from Guilin, well past Yangshuo, Li River boat trips are often the most awe inspiring highlights on any visitor's schedule. On the downside watch out for throngs of local package tourists and rip off restaurants once you are aboard. Consider the following options:
- Guilin to Yangshuo (Allow 5 hours, Ticket: Y300.Y400)
- Yangshuo to Fuli: Step into a world that has inspired Chinese artists from millennia gone past. Some of the formation names may seem a little obscure but be sure to visit some of the local artisans that specialize in fans in the small village of Fuli. (Allow 2 hours,Ticket:Y120)
- Yangshuo to Xing Ping: Until recently, Xing Ping was only accessible by boat. Take advantage on to new road that is still unfortunately work in-progress for a three RMB, 90-minute bus ride to Xing Ping Fishing Village. Find out why President Clinton said this was one of his most memorable stops on his 1998 China tour. This particular stretch of river is known as the Golden Waterway and includes the most famous peak in the area, Nine Horse Mountain. (Allow 4 hours, Boat Ticket: Y25, Bus to XingPing : Y3)

Xing Ping Fishing Village: Apart from the well preserved Ming Dynasty architecture and wood carving dating back more than five hundred years, Xing Ping is worth seeing for its natural Feng Shui alone. Surrounded by seven mountains, with two stone guardians at the village entrance keeping the modern world at bay from this highly spiritual place. Unfortunately, they have also kept out modern sanitation and other facilities, so watch out for authentic odors and rural lifestyles. (Allow 4 hours, Ticket for Village: Y5, Ticket for boat: Y25 )
Puli Next stop after the village of Fuli, Puli is famed for its Lake of Three Shades, and local geology is again responsible for another of nature's wonders. A five-hour boat ride in total but undoubtedly worth it. (Allow 5 hours, Boat Ticket: Y130 ) 

Climbing: With over 70,000 natural peaks to choose from, this area truly is a sport climber's paradise. Mountain Retreat has quality climbing equipment available, is licensed by the China Climbing Association and has access to some of the best instructors, such as National Champion Simon Li of the Lizard Lounge and the ever-popular Echo Li of the Karst Café. Some of the best spots include the following (Name / Location / Level of Difficulty):
Copper Door / Directly opposite Mountain Retreat and probably the most Popular pitches in the area / 5.10
Moon Hill  / Five Minutes from Gaotian Village / 5.12
Gold Cat Hill  / Opposite Butterfly Park / 5.08
Thumb Peak / Next to Butterfly Cave / 5.10 

Caves: Silver Cave Situated close by to Maling Town (approximately twenty minutes by bus from Mountain Retreat) prepare yourself for a psychedelic adventure that would amaze even Dr Jones himself. Forty RMB entrance fee but try to call in advance to arrange an English-speaking guide. (Allow 4 hours duration, Ticket: 40RMB per person) / Buddha Cave Close to Moon Hill, this is another cave with rich mineral clays that are purported to have great medicinal qualities. (Allow 3 hours duration, Ticket: Y80 / person ) / Water Cave About six km past Moon Hill, enjoy subterranean boat trips (particularly popular among German tourists who know them as 'Bootsfarten in ze Groott') and up to the eyeball mudslides for any aspiring Lara Crofts. (Allow 5 hours duration, Ticket: Y120 / person) / Dragon Cave Close to Moon Hill. Plumb the depths of this mysterious Cave and then returns by boat. (Allow 1.5 hours duration, Ticket: Y35 / person) / Lotus Cave A recently opened cave in Xing Ping incorporating 108 different varieties of Lotus flowers. (Allow 4 hours duration, Ticket: Y30 / person)

Local Specialties: Yangshuo county's distinct cuisine and cooking flavors are certainly not to be missed on any visit. Here is a brief selection of some of the dishes that we recommend you try:
- Fresh Tench with Beer and Peppers: A local favorite that takes advantage of the well stocked rivers in the area. As is common in Chinese cuisine, the whole fish is deep fried and then cooked along with beer, green peppers and tomatoes. Warning: this can be spicy.
- Chinese grapefruit peel stuffed with pork: Yangshuo is famous for its large number of Chinese grapefruit orchards (also known as pomeloes) and it is certainly a case of waste not want not when it comes to the skins. Equally good stuffed or in soup.
- Crispy River Shrimps: A special favorite among British tourists who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms without their weekly fish and chips. Fresh water shrimps, straight out of the local waterways, dipped in batter with a deliciously savory aroma.
- Stir Fried 'Escargot' (snails): Yangshuo is well known for its fat, juicy snails and no doubt you will see them being harvested as you are riding around the countryside. After being thoroughly washed, they are stir fried with pickled bamboo shoots, pickled chilies, ginger and peppermint. Definitely a new taste sensation for western palates. 

Local Produce: 
-Pomeloes: First introduced to this area around three hundred years ago at the end of the Ming Dynasty, this highly visible fruit is slightly larger than a western grapefruit. In addition it peels very easily and is much sweeter than you might expect. While they become ripe in October, try to choose an old tree for the very best tasting examples.
- Oranges: A local variety, favored in and around Baisha town, look for glowing colors and shiny rinds, especially when they come into season in November.
- Horse Chestnuts: Anybody visiting Jin Bao Town during October is in for a very special surprise. Try them fresh, roasted in charcoal or perhaps stuffed into a succulent duck's breast.
- Persimmon: Westerners might find this fruit sickly sweet if eaten fresh. Alternatively wait until winter when your can try the pressed, sun-dried version which is much tastier. Also popular in traditional Chinese medicine as a natural cure for indigestion.

Local Handicrafts:
- Fans: Hand-painted, decorative fans are one of the most popular souvenirs to take home, especially for those visiting Fan Street in Fuli, where many local artisans specialize in this ancient art.
- Chinese Landscape Painting: Yangshuo has always been a magnet for painters and a very definitive style has evolved over the years. Who could head home without at least a couple of delicately brushed scrolls in their case to liven up the office wall?
- Embroidered Decorative Balls: Hugely popular in Japan where they are known as Temari, these delicate balls of thread actually originated in China. Sometimes made for ornamentation, the Zhuang people usually used them as love tokens.
»


Backpacker's Tips : Frank Seewald, Germany
(Nov 01)
« From Yangshuo, make a pleasant bicycle ride to XingPing. At least on market days in XingPing, there are two or three boats waiting for YangDi which start the trip at about 13:30. The problem is that police-like-men won't allow the captain to take you. But if you go by bike via the bridge (you see it from the port) upstream, you will be able to get on the boat from one of the village upstream for about RMB 20. Since you go on bike as fast as the boat, you can cycle a bit longer, even crossing the river ones for 2RMB and get on the boat when the way becomes too bad to cycle. From YangDi you can take a bus waiting at the port or even cycle back. I cycled and it was just a wonderful day.»

Backpacker's Tips : C. Tam, Canada (Sept 01)
« Li River cruises apparently no longer start in Yangshuo (due to complaints from Guilin). You must now take the local bus to XingPing.»

Backpacker's Tips : Chung Seow Lim, Singapore (March 01)
« YangDi > XingPing >Fishing Village by foot: Instead of spending so much money on the cruise, you could actually walk relatively easily along the Li river bank from YangDi to XingPing and to the fishing village on your own within a day or 2. I spent a day from YangDi to XingPing, a night at XingPing and the following I went the fishing village....all on my own. If you prefer to get get a guide, then its about Y150-200/day. There are a number of crossing points that you have to take during the walk, if u start from YangDi, the 1st one is right at the YangDi harbour, cross over and the walk down stream. The 2nd one is about 2km down after the 1st village (LangShi). 3rd one is 9km down at HuaShan village (just behind the village primary school). XingPing is another 8km downstream. 


       --->LangShi                      ---->XingPing              Village de pecheurs
   =!=========!=========! =========!=======!================ Riviere Li
YangDi              --->HuaShan                          --->

!: ferry Point (Y2 per cross per head)

If you are fast and provided you did not get into the wrong track (its not easy to get lost, though, if u stick to the river bank), you could do it within 4-5hrs (according to the locals). But I took my own sweet time with my OM1 and I got into a wrong track up hill...I spent 9hrs. There is no shop along the way, so remember to bring along your lunch and water. If it's too late, you could spend a night at XingPing and proceed to the fishing village the next morning. The fishing village is another 1hr walk downstream. The village is on the same side of the river as XingPing, but to reach there you have to walk along the opp. bank of XingPing and do another crossing further down. Thank to Bill Clinton, the entrance fee to the village is Y5 now! To get back to YangShuo, there is no other way, but to walk back to XingPing and take the bus from there.

To get to YangDi, get onto any bus that goes to Guilin, and tell the driver that u are going to YangDi (Y4). You will drop at a junction where the mini van to YangDi is waiting. Y3 for 12 km with SSSS scenery.
»


Backpacker's Tips : Malcolm
(Oct 00)
« Weather: Yangshuo has three seasons: winter/spring, summer, and fall. Winter and spring temperatures, which vary between zero and five degrees, are accompanied by almost daily drizzle - not a good time to visit.
In April and May Yangshuo is besieged by heavy rain. Summer temperatures are hot - 30 to 35 degrees during the day dropping to 25 at night. Humidity is very high throughout the day. Fall: September, October and November - is the best time to visit.

Greater Yangshuo's population: two "hello banana" ladies; three blind er-hu players; three roving tone deaf guitar playing/singing girls and about 30 000 other people. Half of these are out to get your money!!! And they will. To get a bargain in Yangshuo is to haggle until your face turns blue. The usual buying price is 30 to 50 percent of the asking price. The shop owners expect you to haggle - so try your luck.

Moon Hill, one of the area's more than 2000 limestone karsts offers a breathtaking (literally - it's a steep climb) view of scenery that has inspired Chinese artists and poets for centuries. To bike from West Street  takes about half an hour.  For those who like to get dirty there's a track through local villages. Turn left at the roundabout, half an hour further, take the first dirt road to your right. Follow this round over a bridge - the road will get progressively smaller as you get closer to your goal. Turn right at every turn until you come out in a car park which has a very flashy temple looking cave entrance and the Banyan Tree (reputed to be over 1500 years old) across the road. Moon hill is about half a kilometer further on.

Closer to Yangshuo there are three karsts which can be conquered: the Green Lotus and Lower and Upper Antenna Hills. To find Green Lotus hill, the lowest of the three, turn left out of West street - about 600 meters to the left of the last building is a concrete step marking the beginning of the rough and slippery climb. The free entrance to the Lower and Upper Antenna hills is an alley next to the Yangshuo Youth Hostel. The path splits halfway up: the left branch leads to the lower hill; the right to the upper. 

The 'Li River', as every local will boast, has "the best river scenery in China". To make up your own mind start early - hire a bike, take your camera and lots of film. The best scenery is between Xingping and Yangdi.  To experience it you can catch a return boat from Yangshuo to Yangdi (90-100Y - 5 hours). Or, on the return journey, you can get off at Xingping for a two hours gorgeous scenic cycle, or quicker local bus ride, back to Yangshuo. Or you can catch a bus to Yangdi, cruise the river down to Xingping and bike or bus back. Xingping, boasts even better scenery than Yangshuo, particularly from a hill top pagoda near the wharf.

Local market days - where all sorts of weird and wonderful animals and produce are displayed; and pickpockets are hard at work!!! OUCH. are: Yangshuo & Xingping: 3, 6, 9, 13, 16, 19, 23, 26 and 29 of every month / Fuli: 2, 5, 8, 12, 15, 18, 22, 25 & 28 / Baisha: 1, 4, 7, 11, 14, 17, 21, 24 & 27.

Shoes polishing 1-3Y; beware of razor blades being quietly taken to your shoes to ensure you also need repair services - which have been known to cost some foreigners 200-300Y.

Buses from Yangshuo to Guilin should cost 5Y - 6Y for an air-conditioned bus. There is an extra 30 percent charge during national holidays.

Express Coaches run daily from Guilin to Guangzhou (departing: 21.30: arriving 8 hours later: 140Y per person) & Guilin to Shenzhen (departing: 0830: arriving 10 hours later: 180Y per person). Guilin Main Bus Terminal ph: 3820600 »


Backpacker's Tips : Olivier Boivineau, France
(Aug 00)
«TV Antenna Hill vs. Green Lotus Peak: Instead of fighting your way (you're highly likely to lose the battle if it rained the day before) up to the Green Lotus Peak, you may want to go up to the TV antenna, opposite the May Flowers Hotel. Ask the way (at the May Flowers for example) to the beginning of the stone stairs that go up, because these are hard to find. After an hour (slow pace) of climbing, you'll have a grandiose 360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding karsts (the Green Lotus Peak will appear quite low below you). Obviously, choose a clear day for a great view. Start the hike after 3 PM to avoid a sun burnt neck (skies are usually clearer late in the afternoon anyway).

Cruise on Li River: The best part of the cruise is between XingPing and YangDi. Through cafes or guides, a return cruise to YangDi is 110 RMB/pers; return cruise to XingPing is 60RMB/pers. The best thing to do is to ask for a cruise from XingPing to YangDi, 60 RMB/pers. You then pay in advance and just follow the instructions. You will have to take the bus from YangShuo to XingPing yourself, in front of the main entrance to Yangshuo Park. You can take your bike with you on the bus and on the boat too, if you want ride part of the trip. Better solution, but more risky: once in XingPing, bargain youself for a boat trip to Yangdi, 50 RMB per person max. You may be lucky and get a cheaper price. Notes: Believe it or not, the fare from Yangshuo to XingPing is 2.5 RMB, not 5 RMB. A decent ability in spoken Chinese will get you the Chinese fare, otherwise just pay the 5 RMB. The One World Cafe or the River View Cafe will offer good quality meals for decent prices (just a little more expensive than in Yangshuo) and sound advice on boats, buses, etc.

Pavillion in XingPing. For a superb view of the surrounding areas, go up to the pavillion on top of one of the hills. Ask the River View Cafe or the One World Cafe for directions. The climb takes 30 minutes and gets sporty near the end, with a ladder to climb. If you have vertigo, go with someone you trust who will help you finish the climb.

The fishermen's village near XingPing (that Clinton visited): There is no more local boat shuttle to go there for 1 RMB. You now need to pay 80 RMB for one boat to go there. It's a long way to walk there from XingPing, especially given there is no road to get there...

Bike tours in the rice fields. Ask for Tang at Lisa's GH. He has got a wide variety of tours to offer, all at a reasonnable price (50 RMB/pers is a classic in Yangshuo). From a 2 hour tour to Moon Hill and back to a butt aching, sun burning, 8 hour marathon tour REALLY off the beaten tracks in superb landscapes. He's 1,49 meters tall, but don't underestimate him. He's one the most honnest guys in the business.

Bus prices : from Yangshuo to XingPing: 2.5 RMB (5 if you cannot speak Chinese) / to Fuli: 1 RMB (2 if you cannot speak Chinese) / to Guilin: 5 RMB (no luggage fee in China!)

Other prices:  Bike rental in Yangshuo: 5 RMB (no more than 10 if you have trouble bargaining) / Yangshuo Park: 6 RMB, but you can explain that Chinese people never pay to go in so you shouldn't either. There are many ways in besides the main entrance, as you will realize if you wonder far inside the park... you'll eventually end up in peoples' back yards. / Three bed room in very high season at May Flowers Hotel: 40 RMB/pers. AC, 24 HW, clean rooms.
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 << Discover the charm of Yangshuo area...


Communications ?

Internet : Each cafe now seem to be connected. The cheapest rates were Y20 per hour or Y0.5 per mn at the time of writing (Hard Rock Cafe for example) but it will hopefully go down...

Tel : One of the best rate for Western countries was given by Merry Plane Language Club (9.99Y per mn) while the Post Office charged 15Y. Check out the latest...


How t
o leave ?

Nothing is more easy than to get information about how to leave Yangshuo : most of the cafe and restaurants are competing with the travel agencies to sell you bus, train or plane tickets against a commission (from 15 to 30 for plane ticket to 50 or 70 for train ticket).

The bus station is not a good place to get information about all the buses option but they have at least one convenient bus a day to most of the destination and they are the cheapest.

Train ticket for some destinations are difficult to get. Kunming is the best example. Try as early as possible.  Another solution  is to go first to Nanning by bus (3-4 hours by luxury bus from Guilin, 70Y) and then to take the late-afternoon train to Kunming (check schedules). A foreigner also reported success buying the ticket from Guilin North Station.

Backpacker's Tips : Atai, Australia (April 02)
« CITS and China Southern airline has introduced a luxury coach service from Guilin and Yangshuo to Kowloon, Hong Kong. Normal passenger service will start from the 12th April. 2 services a week : Tuesday and Friday. Depart Guilin 7pm, Guishan Hotel. Yangshuo 8pm, Yangshuo paradise hotel. Arrived first in Shatin town hall green mini bus station. Then final destination, 4 Honkow road, Tsim Sha Tsui, in front of Hen Sang Bank. The price is 350 Yuan from Guilin, 340 Yuan from Yangshuo. Tickets from most travel agents in Yangshuo.
From Hong Kong, Wednesday and Saturday. Depart from 4 Hongkow road, Tsim Sha Tsui. Time 4pm. Price 340 dollars to Yangshuo. 350 dollars to Guilin. Phone number in Hong Kong 852 27232923. Tickets: 4 Hongkow Road. Return ticket is 600 Yuan / Latest bus fare : yangshuo guilin Y7.5, yangshuo xinping Y3.
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Bus Schedules :

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Guilin 7.5 seat 1 all day ++ when full
Nanning 80 luxe 11 17:00 1 odd day
Wuzhou 60 luxe 6 9:30 1 na
Guangzhou 60 sleep 15 15:30 1 na
Shenzhen 90 sleep 15 17:00 1 na


Boat Schedules : Li River Trips

To Price Type Duration Time Nb Freq.
Yangdi 100-110 tourist 6 9:30/10:30/11 3 na
Xingping 50--60 tourist 3 9:30/10:30/11 3 na
Fuli 40 tourist 1 9:30/10/11 3 na
Puyi 70 tourist 3 10 1 na

Notes : more boats should be available. Check at the pier directly.


The trip to GuilinMinibus / SSSS / Right window / Y5 / 1 hr

Not much to write as it takes only one hour from Yangshuo to Guilin, time you might spend trying to get the inflated price down to the normal 5Y or dreaming at the karsts peak scenery. Update (june 02) : the cost is now Y7.5

The trip to Shenzhen : Sleeper Bus / Night / Y90 / 15 hrs

An excellent option for those who are brave enough to spend around 15 hours in a bumpy bus with multiple reparation stops on the way... Just before Shenzhen, the bus will stop at the area "border" and you should be requested to get off to show the Police that you do not look Chinese and therefore should be accepted in without documents. The bus will wait for you on the other side with your luggage. However, considering that our bus was  not planning to go to the train station & HK's border area, we boarded (maybe by mistake) a City bus instead (around 1 hour, Y6)

See also the Trip from Wuzhou to Yangshuo...